Sunday, September 21, 2014

Book Review: Secret of the Lost Race

    Andre Norton (aka Alice Mary Norton) is among the great Golden Age Science Fiction writers (I consider the 50s as part of the Golden Age, though some say it ended in the late 40s).  Though her later career moved into a sort of Cat Fancy/Fantasy thread, her early work was core, essential stuff.  This tale is of a young seeming man with a shrouded past, working in a gambling hall.  When things go wrong, he ends up shanghaied and forced into labor on an ice planet.  From there, conflict, adventure, political intrigue, and galactic revelations.

    Going back and reading books from this era (used to be my bread and butter, but I don’t read nearly as much anymore), I’m always a bit taken aback by how modern they feel.  In large part, I think this is because movies, which I watch more frequently, are always so far behind books.  Settings and styles of books written in the 40s and 50s would not see depiction in film until the 80s, or even 2010s.

    I enjoyed the heck out of the book, but it feels like part of a larger whole.  Often, while reading books of this time, the worlds feel so fleshed out that when the book is done, I wish to read more stories.  Yet, most of the time there are no more.  It’s a testament to the skills of the writers, but it’s frustrating, none the less.   For fans of science fiction, Andre Norton is a must and this would be a good introduction.

Secret of the Lost Race
Author: Andre Norton
Publisher: Bean
ISBN: (I read this as part of a double volume called Secret of the Stars) 978-1-4767-3674-7

-Matthew J. Constantine

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